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Fascism Definition & Meaning

Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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Fascism dictionary definition highlighted in yellow

Some in Democrat leadership, joined by avowed communists, socialists, cultural activists, organized atheists, and parts of ANTIFA, BLM, and national “liberation fronts,” paint conservatives as “fascist,” implying they want political violence – but what is fascism?

Surprisingly, popular definitions are unsatisfying, slippery, and subjective. They tend to be circular, incomplete, and strangely hypocritical, using ambiguous terms like “traditional conservative,” “right-wing,” “patriotic,” “nationalist,” and “nativist” – to describe fascism.

But stop. What exactly is fascism? Properly understood in historical and modern contexts, it is an ideology, strategy, and tactical approach to change that pushes hate and political violence.

More specifically, it is an all-consuming belief in one – only one – pure and unalterable political ideology, to the point of intolerance for all others. It embodies a strategy that seeks, in accord with this ideology, to delegitimize other views, laws, institutions, groups, and protections.

Based on the unwavering conviction that one centering ideology is true and must be spread, it works to delegitimize different views, laws, institutions, groups, and protections. Fascism uses proven tactics – including persecution, harassment, denial, cancellation, fear, and violence.

Finally, to keep the ideology unchanged, strategy in motion, and tactics rolling, a fascist movement or regime will stoke prejudices, hate, and demonization based on differences in people.

These differences might be racial, religious, ethnic, socio-economic, geographic, educational, or just invented or interpretive – but are used to divide people, justifying political vilification and ultimately political violence, with the longer term aim of centralizing power.

Correctly, many identify Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, and – the source of the ideology’s name – Mussolini’s “Fascist” Italy, before and during World War II, as fascist. But if this is an accurate historical description of fascism – now almost cliché – what specific groups do this today?

The question is seldom asked – but deserves, almost demands, an answer in this upside-down time.  Let’s start with the allegation that conservatives are – by definition – fascists. Does the term fit – conservative individuals, the Republican Party, leading candidates, or Trump?

Do those who advocate “viewpoint diversity,” “free marketplace of ideas,” “religious diversity,” “individualism,” and “fair and open” exchange of non-violent ideas in business, government, and on campuses…sound like pushers of “one pure and unalterable ideology?”

Unless one twists words beyond recognition, vilifying advocacy of multiple points of view, one is hard-pressed to see how these tolerant views – premised on our Bill of Rights– could be fascist.

How about those who respect – yet recognize limitations on – legislative, executive, and judicial powers exercised by the government, who understand the state-federal balance, and who honor the nation’s long-held military mission, namely war-fighting and deterrence?

How about those who abide by “black letter law,” who honor Supreme Court rulings, traditional understandings of procedural due process, equal protection, and the national aspiration to equal opportunities for all Americans – a chance at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”

Do these groups seem to be following a strategy of “delegitimizing” ideas or seeking debate and logical defense of competing views, laws, institutions, groups, and individual protections?

Now examine tactics. Do conservatives concentrate power, spend, tax, regulate more, grow government, misuse laws to persecute, harass, cancel, indebt, create fear, or push violence?

Or are these the Americans arguing for less government, more freedom and self-reliance, self-restraint, self-discipline, and the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Tenth Amendment rights?

As you contemplate these questions – trying to understand “fascism” – think about what we see daily. Who – which party – holds an ideology against “viewpoint diversity,” a “free marketplace of ideas,” “religious diversity,” “individualism,” and “fair and open” exchanges?

Who tries to intimidate Supreme Court justices, undermine institutions and the military mission, and seek to transform society by subverting established meanings, due process, and equal protection?

Which political party cancels and silences debate on opposing ideas, including traditional, individualist, family, religious, government-limiting, solvency-advocating, or contrarian views?

Which party aims to solve problems by aggregating power, attacking Americans on the basis of their race, class, economic, religious, geographic, gender, parental or another status, swapping rule of law for violent riots, destroying history, condemning others as “enemies of the people”?

Just ponder – for a moment – which political party, which activists, are increasingly violent, radicalized, and purist, and more closely resemble the worst actors of the past century. When you weigh what lies in the scale – just ask yourself quietly: Who behaves most like fascism? The answer is enough to give Americans a shudder. Hint: It is not the Republican Party.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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PaulE
PaulE
9 months ago

Good article RBC. You should try to get on The View and explain this to the so-called enlightened ones who host that show. After all, they seem to be quoted on a number of “news” shows as being a sort of news outlet. Just don’t expect to get anything back from them but blank stares or their usual incoherent screaming.

Old Silk
Old Silk
9 months ago

Fascism is not right wing at all. It is so far left that at any minute you expect it to fall off the left end of the political spectrum. Those of us who learned about the American form of government when it was taught in schools in the days before the Department of Education know well that far right is no government at all – anarchy. To the left of anarchy and to the right of center is our Constitutional Republic, operating under the rule of law. In the middle is Democracy, operating under mob rule, then sliding into everything else that is on the left, i.e. socialism/communism, fascism, nazism, all the other despotic, tyrannical dictators.

Donna
Donna
9 months ago

Excellent article as usual, Mr. Charles. I doubt anyone on the left would actually see themselves as the fascists. It is so sad to see so many, be so lost. Will continue to pray for our nation.

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
9 months ago

First of all, over the last 200+ years, more than 95% of all political violence has been committed by Leftists. Second, despite endless efforts by the Left, mostly successful, to invoke fascism as a “right-wing” political movement, fascism is, in fact, a political movement of the Left. Fascism and Communism are two sides of the same coin, first cousins if you will.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
9 months ago

Biden and his administration has proven to be a bunch of hate filled zealots who refuse to have debates with opponents of their ideology. Not only do they go after those Americans that have traditional values, they chronically refuse to tell the truth and allow people such as President Trump to live under a legal system of fairness and due process. Biden and his son, Hunter, have been protected by the justice system under the very corrupt Attorney General Garland. The Democrats claim that the American people need to fear Donald Trump. However, the facts indicate very clearly that Joe Biden and his cohorts are shredding our Constitution. The situation has become so disgusting that Americans of knowledge and reason are increasingly depressed and worried that our faltering Constitutional Republic is quickly turning into a fascistic oligarchy.

Veteran
Veteran
9 months ago

It is a lot simpler even both fascism and communism are extreme versions of socialism, with simple socialism generally regarded as the introductory phase of authoritarian tyranny during which a semblance of perfunctory elections still exist. Under National Socialism, or as we are currently on the verge of, global socialism, corporations are still privately owned but receive their goals set by government, or governing bodies (WEF/UN), and are instrumental in achieving government control, i.e. social media and media propaganda and censorship, or they receive punishment and censorship themselves, i.e. ESG scores, loss of government subventions, tax breaks,…their end goal, communism, or global communism sees all private property abolished, no more elections, a group of, or single person dictator rules arbitrarily, the law, rights, and the truth are what they, or he/she decides. Equality gone, safety gone, peace gone, property gone, and sanity gone; arbitrary rule of the most ruthless, greediest, with unbridled brutality without repercussions, or any legal recourse; the current crop of Democrats’ dream, every true Americans nightmare. This is the bottom line of all of the above democracy, social democracy, national socialism, global socialism, corporate run fascism, fascism, Marxism, Leninism, Anarchism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, communism, global communism, statism, all different shades of the same dark ideology. Our founding fathers realized the short life time span of pure democracies before they degraded into the beginnings of this sliding scale of tyrannies, and decided upon a constitutional republic instead with checks and balances that would survive as long as its citizenry insisted upon keeping the boundaries of checks and balances intact. Laziness and laissez faire attitude has gotten us to the point of where we are now. Being a citizen in a constitutional republic is not a spectator sport, but full contact!

Melinda
Melinda
9 months ago

It is the liberal left who have defined conservatives as fascists. As a conservative, I have always believed in a laissez faire type of governing, which neither democrats or republicans practice. Some come closer than others. I would totally support a candidate who could accomplish this type of government. But maybe it’s no longer possible.

Carol
Carol
9 months ago

The Biden Regime is Fascism. Fits the mold in every concept. I am a member of AMAC I think since it’s beginning. I felt such safety and comfort during Trump’s presidency. Now, I’ve never felt so much fear, uncertainty in my 80 years. I have hope that Trump will be back in 2024. If not, I just pray the Lord comes quickly. I think this is why Oliver Anthony’s song have gone straight to the top. Everyone can relate. We all are feeling the terror of the Biden Regime.

David Millikan
David Millikan
9 months ago

See Dictator Beijing biden and democrats for definition of FASCISM.
They follow Hitler and Stalin’s play book every day.

Marc Ziegler
Marc Ziegler
9 months ago

Fascism in short, is one sided forced thought control by the government, on the masses. The book 1984 by George Orwell is an example of fascism, totalitarianism and thought control at its best. A good sign that fascism is happening somewhere, is when books are censored, unlawful arrests happen, and free speech is deigned. Kind of what is happening now in America, isn’t it.

Dave
Dave
9 months ago

The definition of fascism is much simpler. It is a form of socialism. It is the overall control or guidance, rather than ownership, of production by the state. But rather than using forced labor, it’s impetus comes mainly by instilling nationalism and patriotism into the work force. Fascism, like socialism, is simply another form of government that is always doomed to fail due to human nature.

Steven Coughlin
Steven Coughlin
9 months ago

Conservatives are the antithesis of fascists .This is yet another example of Left wing ( the true fascists) projection that they have gotten away with for decades.

Ted W
Ted W
9 months ago

Excellent article. Another example: The leftists like to call us Nazis and Fascists but they have it all wrong.
NaZi is a German acronym for National Socialism as in providing Volkswagens (The peoples car.) They became also Fascist when they realized they had to depend on Big Business such as Krupp Arms in order to possibly win WW2.

Pete Malone
Pete Malone
9 months ago

As an old guy who can actually recall the 1930s, I still see the three members of the Socialist Alliance – Germany, Italy and Russia – as LEFTIST governments bent on TOTALITARIAN control of their nations. Germany and Russia spent massively to control their societies by BUYING the major industries. Italy achieved the same sort of control, at minimal expense, through REGULATION of those industries. All three imposed strict government control of the media, schools, etc., and ran “secret police” – e.g., “Gestapo” – operations and concentration camps for anyone who opposed them. Thought control was the order of the day. The U.S. might be called a FASCIST country today. “Political Correctness” is used to control thought. Government efforts by the Party in power, to hamstring and defeat its political opposition by influencing public opinion through its domination of the media, are reminiscent of the European socialists of the 1930s.

Phillip Nagle
Phillip Nagle
9 months ago

What is the difference between communism and fascism? They are both single party totalitarian systems with little if any personal freedom. Both systems have absolute control over all media. Neither system allows for ant descent. The first difference is economic, communism requires complete socialism (government ownership of all means of production and distribution) while fascisms includes a mixed but controlled economy. The second difference is the driving force, communism emphasizes class struggle while fascism emphasizes nationalism. To realize how close these systems are, China which claims to be a communist country is by any reasonable definition in reality, a fascist regime. The political opposite of these two very similar totalitarian systems is libertarianism which advocates very limited government.

Rik
Rik
9 months ago

Fascism is Jackass Joe Biden and today’s so-called Democratic Leadership!

Backwoods
Backwoods
9 months ago

fascists=the people accusing us as being fascist!

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
9 months ago

Fascism is control of privately owned business by the federal govt.No more and no more. If I stick my tongue out at someone its not facism. If a member of one race condemns a member of another race its not facism. Hate is not facism. Facism is state control of private business. Facism is one thing only. What we are dealing with here is ignorance.

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 months ago

Fascism is the ideology portrayed as evil It’s brother communism just as evil if not more is being portrayed as a saint Truth is suppressed lie promoted and spread That says it all Elites were always fascinated by either one As long as they did not feel the whip of it

Kandy
Kandy
9 months ago

So very true. The democratic party has become a facist communist arty who wants to destroy America and our Constitutional Republic. They us under their total facist communist dictatorship

Dennis
Dennis
9 months ago

Excellent article. Well worth your time to read it for understanding!!!

cam
cam
9 months ago

From my conclusion, socialists, marxists etc., are the ones engaging in fascism. It has nothing to do with what a conservative adhered to. fascism has a resentment towards national pride, country sovereignty, control of one’s thoughts and speech, etc. But using right-wing, freedom of thoughts and speech, capitalism are not principles of fascism, which shows a direct linkage to democrats and their continuation of destroying our Constitution to be replaced by globalism.

Conservative
Conservative
9 months ago

but but democrats. I need cheap gas for my truck that I will have to sell anyway since i spent all my money on buying guns lol

Dan W.
Dan W.
9 months ago

You ask: Which activists, are increasingly violent, radicalized, and purist, and more closely resemble the worst actors of the past century ?

ANTIFA would be a good example. ISIS, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers would be other examples. Plenty of violent, radicalized and purist actors to go around.

Pete Duchon
Pete Duchon
9 months ago

Excellent analysis.

One more thing
One more thing
9 months ago

Charles i know what fascism is and after seeing your work over the years from being a former assistant Secretary of State under Colin to the joy of the drug wars to your work during the Iraq years.

i can say you will fail at yet another thing.

Donald trump
Donald trump
9 months ago

Fascism
love it

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